XXL magazine was at first a beacon of hope, or at least just a decent competitor for The Source—something tolerable in the national rap-mag world once the brilliant Ego Trip disappeared. That all changed many years ago—during the editorial run of Ego Trip alum Elliott Wilson, to be honest—but where XXL finally downsized to a snug medium was its "Freshman Class" gimmick.
Every year, they choose a bunch of rappers who are the new "it" guys and (occasionally) gals—even though, without fail, half of them have already been killing shit for years by the time XXL recognizes them (in 2012, local boy done good Macklemore made the cut).
After their cover hits stands, XXL kicks back as a million forums and barbershops buzz with indignation and debate over their list's inclusions and omissions, and they can keep printing paper magazines about rap magazines for another year.
It's all worth it, though, just to read the "Freshman Orientation" a few days later via CocaineBlunts.com's notorious Andrew "Noz" Nosnitsky, a statistical breakdown/takedown of the chosen few, as well as XXL's conflicts of interest and NYC rap media's myopia in general. If you possess a working knowledge of rap (past and present), hate corporate synergy and love hilarious, sharp writing, it's one of the best things you'll read all year. If not...well, you're probably not even reading this post, are you?
About the list:
It’s more important than Jay-Z selling you something and more important than Nas fondly reminiscing on the days when he could still sell you something.
About an artist's marketability:
The only thing the masses love more than DJ Mustard is hating women.
On rapper Jon Connor's name:
His name is almost the same as the kid from Terminator 2 but he probably doesn’t even own a Public Enemy t-shirt.
Peep it here.